July 20th, 2010
09:07 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to Newspulse.

Couple wanted for abandoning boy, dead sister: Arrest warrants have been issued for a southern California couple who may have fled to Mexico after authorities found a dead child in their home, a police spokeswoman told CNN Tuesday.

NAACP 'snookered' over ex-USDA employee video: The NAACP has retracted a statement condemning comments made by a former Agriculture Department official who resigned after a video clip surfaced of her discussing a white farmer. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous posted on his Twitter account that he "spoke to Ms. [Shirley] Sherrod earlier today and personally apologized." The NAACP said it was "snookered by Fox News" and conservative website publisher Andrew Breitbart.

Lindsay Lohan begins probation violation jail term: Actress Lindsay Lohan showed little emotion as a deputy put her in handcuffs in a Beverly Hills, California, courtroom Tuesday morning to take her to jail to begin what is expected to be a two-week stay. Lohan was "cooperative" during booking, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Lesbian teen wins $35k from school over prom dispute: A school district in Mississippi has agreed to pay a recent high school graduate $35,000 in damages and adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to a statement Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU sued the school district in Fulton, Mississippi, on behalf of Constance McMillen, a lesbian teen who was told by school officials she and her girlfriend would be ejected if they attended the school-sponsored prom.

Mexican police arrest man hiding 18 monkeys under clothes at airport: Mexican authorities at the airport in the nation's capital ran into some unexpected monkey business while searching a man with a bulge under his shirt: 18 monkeys. Roberto Sol Cabrera Zavaleta, 38, became "markedly nervous" when asked what he was transporting, Mexico's Public Safety Department said. Two of the titi monkeys were dead, and 16 of them survived the journey from Lima, Peru, the department said.

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Filed under: Air travel • Animals • Crime • Gay and lesbian • Lindsay Lohan • Showbiz
July 20th, 2010
09:03 PM ET

Utah moves to fire 2 over immigrants data list

The Utah Department of Workforce Services has moved to fire two employees believed to have created and distributed a list containing personal information of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants, officials said Tuesday.

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Filed under: Crime • Human rights
July 20th, 2010
09:01 PM ET

Obama, Cameron blast release of Lockerbie bomber

U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday blasted Scottish authorities' decision to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber last year and agreed on the need to push for a more transparent disclosure of the circumstances surrounding Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's release.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • David Cameron • Politics
July 20th, 2010
07:01 PM ET

NAACP: We were 'snookered' by Sherrod tape

The NAACP has retracted its earlier statement condemning statements made by a former Agriculture Department employee, saying it was "snookered by Fox News" and conservative website publisher Andrew Breitbart.

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Filed under: Civil Rights
July 20th, 2010
05:44 PM ET

Stocks bounce back after early plunge

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Wall Street stages a comeback

Stocks closed higher Tuesday, recovering from steep loses earlier in the session, as investors looked forward to earnings from Apple and speculated about possible moves by the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75 points, or 0.7 percent. The S&P 500 index rose 12 points, or 1 percent, and the Nasdaq composite gained 24 points, or 1 percent.

Stocks plunged at the open and struggled for most of the morning as investors digested a big drop in quarterly earnings from Goldman Sachs and a lower profit outlook from Johnson & Johnson. Weaker-than-expected revenues from IBM also weighed on the market.

But the tone improved in the afternoon on chatter that the Fed is considering additional steps to encourage bank lending. Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. central bank, is scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday.

Shortly after the market closed, Apple reported its best quarterly results on record due to strong Macintosh sales and overwhelming demand for its iPad device.

Investors have been focused on quarterly results, with over 120 companies due to report this week.

Treasurys gain on weak earnings, housing data

Treasury prices gained ground Tuesday, with the two-year yield falling to a record low and the 10-year yield slipping to the lowest in nearly three weeks, as disappointing earnings and housing data boosted demand for the safety of U.S. government debt.

The benchmark 10-year rose 3/32 to 104-21/32 and its yield fell Tuesday to 2.95 percent from 2.97 percent late Monday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Earlier Tuesday, the 10-year note's yield fell to 2.89 percent, the lowest since July 1.

The two-year note edged up 1/32 to 100-3/32 and its yield was 0.59 percent. The
yield had slipped below to an all-time low of 0.57 percent earlier in the day. The 30-year bond was flat at 106-27/32 and its yield was 3.98 percent, while the five-year note gained 2/32 to 100-28/32 with a yield of 1.69 percent.

The safe-haven appeal of Treasurys rose Tuesday as a worse-than-expected government housing report and earnings from Goldman Sachs renewed investor concerns about the economy. Because Treasurys are backed by the U.S. government, they are viewed as low-risk investments and are attractive during times of economic uncertainty.

CNNMoney.com reporters Ben Rooney and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy
July 20th, 2010
04:24 PM ET

Somali pirates release two ships

Somali pirates Tuesday released two hijacked ships that have been held for more than four months, the European Union anti-piracy task force announced.

The Sakoba, a fishing boat, was hijacked March 3, and the UBT Ocean - a chemical tanker - was seized two days later, EU's Naval Force-Somalia said in a statement. FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 20th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Chavez to put representative on opposition TV's board

Venezuela will name a government representative to the board of opposition broadcaster Globovision, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in speech Tuesday.

The move is required because the state is now a minority shareholder of Globovision, he said.

Chavez said the government claims ownership of 25.8 percent of the shares of the company that were owned by two companies that the government took over.

Read the full story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Venezuela
July 20th, 2010
02:44 PM ET

Web Pulse: USDA, Lindsey, a whole lotta monkeys

USDA controversy - Monday, no one had heard of Shirley Sherrod. Tuesday, she was one of the most Googled people in the world. She resigned from her Georgia-based job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a video of her speaking about a white farmer surfaced on a conservative blogger's website.

Sherrod is vehement that she's been misunderstood. She told CNN that she tried to tell her bosses the full story, but they didn't want to listen.

The wife of the white farmer defended Sherrod, saying she had actually gone out of her way to help the family.

The Washington Post is asking: Is Sherrod a racist or a scapegoat?

LL off to the clink - Long ago, a Hollywood ingenue of natural beauty dazzled audiences with her portrayal of identical twins. The actress was fair and lovely, innocent and sweet. But no longer does she stare into the stage lights. As of late, her star on free-fall, she has been staring at her attorney (whoever is representing her at that moment).  Fade to black. And scene. So went Lindsey Lohan Tuesday, at least for 90 days, as she began her jail stint in California for probation violation. At a Beverly Hills courthouse Lohan turned herself in, and cameras were ordered to darkness after deputies handcuffed Lohan. She was reportedly wearing black.

That's more than 3.4 ounces - Let's continue with the circus theme. Imagine carrying one monkey under your shirt? Slightly uncomfortable. Now, two. What about three? Super fun. Let's do 18! A man in Mexico City was arrested after airport authorities discovered he was hiding that many titi monkeys in his shirt. He told police the animals were "pets" that he had purchased for $30. Titi monkeys are protected endangered species and you've got to have a permit to have them. Does that mean that if he had his paperwork in order, we'd have "Monkeys on a Plane?"

Filed under: Animals • Civil Rights • Crime • Lindsay Lohan • Web Pulse
July 20th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

BP’s trial & error: What’s worked and what hasn’t

[Updated 10:25 a.m., Aug. 6]

With oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for almost three months, every attempt to stop the leak has failed, or fallen short - until now. Oil finally stopped gushing from the well on July 15. We look back at how we ended up here: what BP has tried and done so far.

July 20, 2010

Solution: Static Kill
Scientists are weighing a new option called  "static kill” for permanently sealing it. The "static kill" would involve pumping mud into the well to force oil back into the reservoir below. This is similar to the "top kill" method that failed earlier (see below), except that now the oil isn't flowing - hence the word "static."

Read more on static kill at Time.com

Engineers are proceeding with the relief wells that eventually will pump concrete into the well bore to kill it from the bottom. A static kill, if pursued, would hit it from the top.

BP noted that the option could succeed where other similar attempts have failed because pressure in the well is lower than expected. Geologist Arthur Berman tells CNN's "American Morning" the relative simplicity of the static kill makes it an attractive option for BP.

BP finished pouring cement down the well on Aug. 6, completing the job earlier than expected. The process took six hours. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the cementing phase of the "static kill" operation is not the end of the process, "but it will virtually assure us there's no chance of oil leaking into the environment."

July 10, 2010

Solution: New better-fitting containment cap
BP said it was going to remove the old containment cap, replacing it with another that has a better fit. Robots removed six giant bolts from the apparatus July 11 so the new cap could be positioned.

Scientists will then be able to gauge the pressure inside the well and determine whether the cap is holding in the oil or if crews will need to continue siphoning oil.

BP says it will conduct a “well integrity test,” which involves closing the stack end and stemming the flow coming from the well.

If it works, oil collection via the vessels, Q4000 and Helix Producer, will cease. BP will then close in on the perforated pipe. This process, which will be done in collaboration with U.S. government officials, could take up to 48 hours. FULL POST

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
July 20th, 2010
12:43 PM ET

Judiciary Committee approves Kagan

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to become the nation's fourth female Supreme Court justice, setting up a final confirmation vote by the Senate.

Filed under: Elena Kagan • Supreme Court
July 20th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Athletes say the darndest things

Dwyane Wade has apologized for referencing the World Trade Center when answering a question over the weekend about the upcoming Miami Heat season. It should be noted that the NBA star appeared to be criticizing the media, not making light of attacks on the WTC.

According to reports, Wade said:

"There's going to be times when we might lose one, two games in a row, maybe two games, three games in a row, you never know. It's going to seem like the world is crashed down," Wade said in front of reporters. "You-all are going to make it seem like the World Trade has just went down again. But it's not going to be nothing but a couple basketball games lost and we'll have to get back on track."

Also over the weekend, Tim McCarver, an analyst with Fox, compared the treatment Yankees manager Joe Torre received after he left the team to how Nazi Germany and Josef Stalin's  Soviet Union treated generals. McCarver, who is Torre's ex-teammate, went off on the Yankees during Saturday's nationally televised game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

McCarver said his comparison was out of line but he stuck to his opinion that Torre got the shaft.

"Although my analogy was inappropriate, in my opinion the underlying point remains true," McCarver said, according to the New York Daily News. "That Yankee management - not the players, they have embraced Joe Torre and always will - has erased Joe Torre from their history, for the most part."

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Filed under: Sports
July 20th, 2010
12:07 PM ET

Lindsay Lohan taken into custody

Actress Lindsay Lohan showed little emotion as a deputy put her in handcuffs in a Beverly Hills, California court Tuesday morning to take her to jail.

The actress quickly walked to a nearby side door to leave the courtroom as four deputies surrounded her.

Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel had ordered Lohan to report to her courtroom at the Beverly Hills, California, courthouse to begin serving a sentence for probation violation.

Revel ordered that Lohan not be allowed to leave jail on a work-release
or house-release program during her sentence.

The judge said, however, she has no control over how many of the 90 days Lohan will be kept in jail.


Filed under: Crime • U.S.
July 20th, 2010
11:54 AM ET

DNI nominee's five decades of experience

The White House’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, began his military career in 1963 by attending the Air Force’s Signal Intelligence Officers Course as a distinguished military graduate from the University of Maryland. Clapper went on to serve combat tours in both South Vietnam and Thailand. In 1970, he obtained his master’s in political science from St. Mary’s University in Texas shortly before he was honored with a doctorate in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

Taking his classroom experience to the field, Clapper filled intelligence-oriented positions in Korea from 1985 to 1987. During Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, Clapper held the post of assistant chief of staff for intelligence at the Air Force headquarters in Washington D.C. After a 32-year service to the United States military, Clapper spent nearly four years as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency before retiring from the Air Force in 1995. FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 20th, 2010
11:19 AM ET

Sports Update: A 17-year(?!) hockey contract

Russian hockey player Ilya Kovalchuk

Know where you'll be in 17 years? Ilya Kovalchuk does.

The high-scoring Russian left wing has agreed to a $102 million deal with the Devils that will keep him in New Jersey though the 2026-27 season.
Where does the deal rank in the annals of NHL history? SI.com takes a look at how Kovalchuk's new contract stacks up.

Kovalchuk's staggering deal has made headlines, but there's plenty of attention-grabbing action on the field as MLB, tennis, soccer and the Tour de France highlight the sports dockets.

Here are some of the day's can't-miss events (all times Eastern).

Tour de France, Stage 16. (6:30 a.m., Versus) Defending Tour champ Alberto Contador has regained the yellow jersey from Andy Schleck, but can he keep it as the riders continue their run through the Pyrenees, cycling 124 miles from Bageres-de-Louchon to Pau?

Phillies at Cardinals (8:15 p.m., myphl17, FS-M, ESPN) - The streaking Cardinals will go for their seventh straight for the first time since July 7-16, 2006 as they host the Phillies. St. Louis will put its chances on Chris Carpenter, who is 4-2 with a 5.73 ERA in eight appearances vs. the Phillies, whom has hasn't faced since 2006.

Angels at Yankees (7:05 p.m., FS-W, MY9) - Alex Rodriguez stands two home runs from becoming the seventh player in MLB history to reach the 600-homer plateau as the Yankees host the Angels, who are 2-8. They will play at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

By The Numbers
11 - The Texas Rangers snapped an 11-game losing streak at Detroit's Comerica Park as Nelson Cruz's 14th-inning home run lifted the Rangers to an 8-6 win.

21,111 - Points by Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks' all-time leading scorer who signed his new contract which will reportedly pay the German more than $80 million over four years.

July 20th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Scientists weighing new option for shutting down oil well

As tests continue Tuesday on BP's ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are weighing a new option for permanently
sealing it.

The "static kill" would involve pumping mud into the well to force oil back into the reservoir below, officials from BP said Monday, noting that the option could succeed where other similar attempts have failed because pressure in the well is lower than expected.

Geologist Arthur Berman told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday the relative simplicity of a static kill makes it an attractive option for BP.


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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill
July 20th, 2010
11:01 AM ET

Military investigating shootings by Afghan soldier

Military authorities are investigating the shooting deaths of two U.S. civilians and an Afghan soldier by another Afghan soldier in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif Tuesday.

The shooter also died in the incident, and two other service members - one Afghan and the other a member of international coalition forces - were wounded, a statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

The incident occurred during routine weapons proficiency training at Camp Shaheen, the statement said. The shooter is believed to be an Afghan army trainer assigned to Camp Shaheen.

"Our joint investigation will find out how such an event could have occurred to help us prevent any future acts," said Maj. Gen. Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry. "We wish to express our deepest sorrow for the deaths of our colleagues in this tragic event today."

Josef Blotz, spokesman for ISAF, said: "The actions of this individual are not representative of the thousands of men and women who train and fight side-by-side with ISAF everyday to protect their fellow citizens from insurgent brutality."

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 20th, 2010
10:59 AM ET

South Korea and the U.S. to conduct joint military exercises

The United States and South Korea will conduct major joint military exercises starting Sunday just off the Korean peninsula, the U.S. military announced Tuesday.

The exercise, dubbed "Invincible Spirit," will involve about 8,000 Army, Air Force and Navy personnel, 20 ships and 200 aircraft, the military said. The purpose of the training is to improve readiness against a "range of
threats" facing South Korea, the military said in a statement. The four-day exercise will be the first in a series planned in the Sea of Japan.

"We stand fully prepared to respond militarily to any further North Korean provocation," said Gen. Han Min-koo, chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Filed under: Security Brief
July 20th, 2010
10:18 AM ET

On the Radar: Racism and the USDA, Lohan goes to jail

Resignation amid racism charges - There's much controversy swirling around the resignation of a black U.S. Agriculture Department employee.  A recent video clip shows Shirley Sherrod discussing how she treated a white farmer who was in danger of losing his property. Some interpreted her comments as racist. But Sherrod contends that's not true, and that the video has been taken out of context. Until her resignation, she was the USDA's  state director of rural development for Georgia. The incident described in the video occurred in 1986, when she was working for a nonprofit, she said Tuesday.

"I was telling the story of how working with him helped me to see the issue is not about race," Sherrod explained to CNN's "American Morning." "It's about those who have versus those who do not have."

"Static kill" - July 20 marks the three-month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. As tests continued on BP's ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil giant and the Coast Guard announced that yet another method might be used to stop the gusher for good.  "Static kill" involves pumping mud into the well to force oil back into the reservoir below. But that won't happen Tuesday, said BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells, who cautioned that the idea is "very much in its infancy." Relief wells, Wells said, are "still the ultimate solution."

Kagan vote - It's a big day for Elena Kagan. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nomination requries approval by the full Senate, and a vote is expected before the chamber goes on its August recess. Kagan would become the fourth female justice in the history of the nation's highest court.

Just In, 12:35 p.m. ET: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Kagan.

Lohan to jail - Ninety days. That's the sentence Lindsay Lohan will begin serving Tuesday. The troubled movie star is expected to appear in court in Los Angeles, California, at  8:45 a.m. (11:45 a.m. ET). TMZ and the Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Lohan's lawyer Robert Shapiro had quit. He is expected to appear in court with her anyway.

July 20th, 2010
08:31 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Shirley Sherrod

The African-American employee of the Department of Agriculture resigned Monday after conservative media outlets aired a video of her telling an audience she had not given a white farmer "the full force of what I could do" to help him save the family farm.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he had accepted the resignation of Sherrod, the department's state director of rural development for Georgia.

"There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person," Vilsack said. "We have been working hard through the past 18 months to reverse the checkered civil rights history at the department and take the issue of fairness and equality very seriously."

Conservative website publisher Andrew Breitbart originally posted the video, which shows Sherrod telling her audience that the farmer she was working with "took a long time ... trying to show me he was superior to me." As a result, she said, she "didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough."

To prove she had done her job, she said, she took him to a white lawyer. "I figured that if I take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him," she said.

Sherrod told CNN on Tuesday that her remarks were taken out of context and failed to include the point of her story - that people need to move beyond race.

The incident took place in 1986, before she worked for the USDA, she said. "I was telling the story of how working with him helped me to see the issue is not about race. It's about those who have versus those who do not have."


July 20th, 2010
07:21 AM ET

Tuesday's live video events

Ongoing coverage - BP webcam of Gulf oil disaster

10:00 am ET - Supreme Court nomination hearing - The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.

10:00 am ET - Hearing on federal role in Gulf oil disaster - Two House energy subcommittees hold a joint hearing on what role the Interior Department had in the Gulf oil disaster.


Filed under: On CNN.com today